Myra Klarman Photography families / seniors / headshots

FestiFools 2009

 

FestiFools 2009 is, as the movie moguls say, “in the can.” It was totally wicked great — and only slightly moist (which, judging by the giddy expressions I saw up and down Main St., didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits).

There’s so much to show and tell that we’d better cut to the chase. Let’s roll the film…

FestiFools 2009 | Shortly after 2pm (on Sunday, April 5, 2009), a 6-year-old boy named Max, who resides within the Ann Arbor city limits, entered 826michigan for their special Robot-Costume-Building Workshop. At approximately 3:35pm, this Fool-O-Matic (model no. 2009) robot emerged from the premises. There was no trace of the boy!
Shortly after 2pm (on Sunday, April 5, 2009), a 6-year-old boy named Max, who resides within the Ann Arbor city limits, entered 826michigan for their special Robot-Costume-Building Workshop. At approximately 3:35pm, this Fool-O-Matic (model no. 2009) robot emerged from the premises. There was no trace of the boy!
FestiFools 2009 | Ecstatic reunion with dear friends, who came in from Grand Rapids to experience and photograph FestiFools firsthand. Can’t wait to hang with Mike and Yo (and their babies, whom I’ve known since they really were babies) again soon!
Ecstatic reunion with dear friends, who came in from Grand Rapids to experience and photograph FestiFools firsthand. Can’t wait to hang with Mike and Yo (and their babies, whom I’ve known since they really were babies) again soon!
FestiFools 2009 | Waiting in the alleys for the clock to strike “Fools!”
Waiting in the alleys for the clock to strike “Fools!”
FestiFools 2009 | The rain was no match for the adorable and Foolhardy FestiFools fans.
The rain was no match for the adorable and Foolhardy FestiFools fans.
FestiFools 2009 | Two puppets duke it out in the intersection of Main and Liberty. Or were they dancing the tango? Either way, it’s good.
Two puppets duke it out in the intersection of Main and Liberty. Or were they dancing the tango? Either way, it’s good.
FestiFools 2009 | A smorgasbord for the retinas!
A smorgasbord for the retinas!
FestiFools 2009 | Kathleen Miska did a fabulous job as this year’s “Zoltan.” Max’s FestiFools fortune-card asked, “Do penguins have knees?” Having recently studied penguins (rather extensively) in school, he knew the correct answer was yes. I would have gotten that question wrong.
Kathleen Miska did a fabulous job as this year’s “Zoltan.” Max’s FestiFools fortune-card asked, “Do penguins have knees?” Having recently studied penguins (rather extensively) in school, he knew the correct answer was yes. I would have gotten that question wrong.

“Holy fishbowl, Batman!”

You may have noticed by now that many of these images have a pronounced convexity to them. Throughout the event, I found myself continually gravitating to my (recently acquired) fisheye lens. I’m drawn to how this lens dramatically enlarges (and somewhat distorts) whatever is immediately in front of it (puppets, people), while capturing so many contextual details in the background and periphery (spectators, buildings, etc.). FestiFools is theatre-in-the-round that perfectly lends itself to this extreme, fun-house–mirror effect.

FestiFools 2009 | The gentleman on the left — who, at least to my eye, bears an uncanny resemblance to Mayor Hieftje — graciously offered to escort the mayor along Main St. for a meet-and-greet with the voters.
The gentleman on the left — who, at least to my eye, bears an uncanny resemblance to Mayor Hieftje — graciously offered to escort the mayor along Main St. for a meet-and-greet with the voters.
FestiFools 2009 | President Obama on Iran’s nuclear ambitions: “All options remain on the turntables.” (Relish readers are warned not to try this at home with your dad’s stereo — only under hip-hop supervision, alright?)
President Obama on Iran’s nuclear ambitions: “All options remain on the turntables.” (Relish readers are warned not to try this at home with your dad’s stereo — only under hip-hop supervision, alright?)
FestiFools 2009 | The Three Amigas
The Three Amigas
FestiFools 2009 | Don’t look now, but I’m about to get shot by that kid at 11 o’clock.
Don’t look now, but I’m about to get shot by that kid at 11 o’clock.
FestiFools 2009 | Many of the puppet-wrangling teams will accessorize to match their puppet.
Many of the puppet-wrangling teams will accessorize to match their puppet.
FestiFools 2009 | Robot couture
Robot couture
FestiFools 2009 | Dave Roston as the primordial goose laying the golden eggplant — or something like that. Okay, I’m not exactly sure what he was doing, but — whatever it was — it was pretty amazing.
Dave Roston as the primordial goose laying the golden eggplant — or something like that. Okay, I’m not exactly sure what he was doing, but — whatever it was — it was pretty amazing.
FestiFools 2009 | GROOVE is in the heart (of downtown Ann Arbor).
GROOVE is in the heart (of downtown Ann Arbor).
FestiFools 2009 | FestiFools Creative Director Mark Tucker and Co-Director Shoshana Hurand
FestiFools Creative Director Mark Tucker and Co-Director Shoshana Hurand
FestiFools 2009 | Once Max retired his robot gear, he was back to his usual tricks: like messing with Rico’s amp.
Once Max retired his robot gear, he was back to his usual tricks: like messing with Rico’s amp.
FestiFools 2009 | After FestiFools, we all headed to the Aut Bar for FestiFeast: Mark Tucker removed his Union Jack hat to reveal his true colors. | Mercenary puppet-maker Jimmie Thompson and FestiFools steering committee member Dave Waterhouse work Braun Court | Loved the festive lights, decorations, and flowers!
After FestiFools, we all headed to the Aut Bar for FestiFeast: Mark Tucker removed his Union Jack hat to reveal his true colors. | Mercenary puppet-maker Jimmie Thompson and FestiFools steering committee member Dave Waterhouse work Braun Court | Loved the festive lights, decorations, and flowers!

Weather ’tis nobler…

While the rain likely kept some people away, overall the uncertain weather was a huge gift. It rained just enough in the beginning (as if on cue), so we could all demonstrate how hardcore we FestiFools fanatics really are. That so many men, women, and children — even babies! — came out in such inclement weather to join in this Foolishness is massively affirming. And how fortunate that it didn’t rain nearly enough to make the festivities unsafe for anyone involved — or even unpleasant (I wouldn’t presume to speak for those art students clad only in underwear, but even they seemed to be having fun).

FestiFools has truly been a lucky duck in the meteorology department. In our first three years we haven’t had any party-destroying weather. The first year, we beat heavy rains by a matter of minutes. And this year, we narrowly evaded an unseasonable snowstorm. And in the days leading up to FestiFools this year we learned about yet another, perhaps even more formidable, weather threat: wind. On the Thursday before FestiFools, high winds on an otherwise beautiful, sunny day forced Mark Tucker to cancel a scheduled puppetry rehearsal. The students’ efforts to move and animate the puppets were rendered utterly futile by the gusting winds.

FestiFools has never had a “rain date” plan, which kind of intensifies the dramatic impact of the event — it’s a high-wire act sans net! As exhilarating as this “do or die” attitude is, perhaps it’s just too daunting. Throughout the months of hard work leading up to the big day, there is always that lingering, gnawing concern: will the weather cooperate? Max, who’d been volunteering for weeks at the puppet-making studio, burst into tears when I mindlessly mentioned that it might rain on Sunday afternoon. I quickly tried to comfort him (and myself) by explaining that the weatherman was only guessing and didn’t really know for sure.

So, in an effort to ease everyone’s life-shortening anxieties, there is now talk of possibly instituting a weather contingency plan for FestiFools. Curious to see how this pans out.

“I’d like to thank the academy.”

Thanks to everyone who poured so much time, energy, creativity, and enthusiasm into making this thing happen, including (but by no means limited to) the following: Creative Director Mark Tucker, Co-Director Shoshana Hurand, Master Puppet Artists Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles, and U-M Art+Design Assistant Professor Nick Tobier.

If you’d like to get involved and become a real, card-carrying Fool, visit the FestiFools website. I hear they let all types join up. They’ll even take you!

And just wait’ll next year!

See also:

 

Comments

It was a great event in downtown Ann Arbor. And it was caught beautifully in all its glory by Myra’s camera and words. Looking forward to next year.

#1 Barbara

It’s amazing to see the event through your (camera’s) eye, Myra. What a beautiful, amazing town this is! And what fabulous people dedicated to a life-affirming fool-ishness. There’s so much here to care about and your loving eye makes it visible to the rest of us.

#2 kim

hi chica! So fun to catch foolsfest through your eyes since I couldn’t be there in real time. I brought you something from Paris! Are you coming to Selma Cafe this Friday so I can give you your present?? hugs! LG

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Photo of Myra Klarman
About Myra Klarman

I’m a professional photographer specializing in studio and lifestyle portraits of children, families, high school seniors, and performing artists. I live in Ann Arbor with my husband, Rich, and our 11-year-old son, Max. Learn more about my portrait and headshot services at Myra Klarman Photography.

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